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Rude teacher

We had Industry Communication today. It was SO on!!!

Rumble in the classroom, bitchaz!

Our teacher, of whom none of my classmates are particularly fond, was talking to us about animal welfare issues in the community and what you can do as an individual. He asked a country girl what she would do about one of her neighbours branding a bull with a hot iron, rather than the more humane (and legal) freeze brand method. She raised the point that as one member of a small community, especially a conservative farming community like hers, she as one person, would not make much progress.

Some other country girls chimed in and their point was obvious. Our teacher, being from the country, surely understood them. Every time they started talking, he interrupted them. He threw another question at them before they had finished what they were saying. I know the class is meant to make us think, but it was rude. He wasn't allowing anyone to get a full thought out of their mouth.

I tried to summarise the girls' position (I'm a city girl, but I got what they meant right away). They were saying that in a conservative community, where everyone knows you, going in guns blazing on an issue won't get you far. The farmers have been hot branding for fifty years and they're not going to stop because some hippy animal-loving eighteen year old girl tells them it's cruel. They haven't stopped because it's illegal; one person's opinion is hardly going to change things. If you do go in too strong, you lose credibility. You develop a reputation for being a radical or even annoying or a bit weird. No one is going to listen to you on any issue. It's better to accept that things won't change tomorrow and take it slow. Get together with like minded people in the community. Educate the younger generation, the men and women who are going to inherit the farms.

You can't assume, I said, that because you have a value, someone else will share it. You have to persuade them using logic that works for them. If we want farmers to stop hot-branding, then we have to make it expensive for them. Lobby the government to subsidise the purchase of freeze-branding equipment. Get the abattoirs involved. If they won't buy hot branded cows, farmers will start freeze-branding.

Why, we asked him, does the RSPCA get to talk to the Government while PETA don't? Because the Government think PETA are a bunch of loonies. You won't get your agenda on the table if your local farming community sees you as the loony. So, as a class, we advocated slow social change rather than bossing around people who won't listen to you.

And he argued. And he argued. And he cut everyone off. And he argued.

And then, Classmate A got cut off in midsentence and she said "Shut up!" and kept talking.

She is our new hero!!!

While I understand his central tenet that we can't do nothing out of fear of being a pariah, he was accusing us all of woosing out of the issue when we weren't. We were saying that sometimes a slow, measured approach will achieve a result where being bossy will not.

Honestly, though. If you want to encourage your class to think about issues and to debate, you can't just cut them off in mid sentence. Just because you're teaching that doesn't give you the right to behave rudely. Every student has as much right to express an opinion, and voice that entire argument, as their teacher does.


( 3 comments! — Make Remark! )
May. 25th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Because it's illegal all you have to do is turn them in... the evidence will be on the cattle. If they get fined and have to go to court each time they fire brand then the practice will stop soon. Why not be the Pariah in a community that is doing something you know is wrong?

Liquid Nitrogen is hella cheap and can be used with the existing fire branding irons. It's just utter laziness on the farmers part not to do it.

I don't even think this issue is debatable it's so clear cut.
May. 25th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
I agree. The solution is to call in the RSPCA. And do it anonymously, better still. That came up in discussion.

But the problem with being a pariah in your community is that once you have been ejected, you are no longer able to be a force for good in that community. If your only choices are slow change or no change at all, you have to make a call.

You can stand up for what you believe in even though no one is listening to you, which is fine and a totally legitimate choice. And if you do this, you may attract people to your cause, even if it takes a long time.

Personally, I believe that it's more effective to work hard at changing the attitudes of a society in order to fix it, rather than getting into the faces of every individual (though getting into the odd face doesn't hurt!)

Either decision is equally legitimate. And while I don't agree with my friends 100% that they should say nothing to their neighbours (sustained nagging has its place, I think), they do have a right to explain their position.

No student should be shouted down by a teacher while explaining their point of view.

And the debate didn't stop with cattle! It went on and on!
May. 26th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
I think you and your classmates approach was evident just by the way your class was handled. The teacher was pushing his idea onto you and it didnt work did it? instead you all went against him, even though what he was saying was correct. the point being you should do something about it and yes you can wait for generations, but yea....

I can understand the country students though. it is much harder then it seems. and as long as they start on their generation and younger it will come to play. It's a similar situation with my grandmother in the usa. growing up in high racial time, it has taken her to the last couple of years to even walk on the same side of the street as an african american. the only reason? a good friend married one. she wont really talk or look at them, and they arent allowed in her house. It's aweful and backwards but there is nothing you can say to her to change it. trust me we've tried, but thats because of how she was brought up. So i'd only assume its the same for the farmers. You just have to wait and have a lot of other things happen other wise your in the bad, or they just dont get what you are saying. it's like they are shut off becuase its not what they were taught.

You really cant teach old dogs new tricks, in replacement of old ones.
( 3 comments! — Make Remark! )

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